The meeting, which was supposed to be held in Hrodna on March 15, has been postponed to "several weeks".
This was stated to journalists by the head of the information department – press secretary of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry Dzmitry Mironchyk, BelTA informs.
In the near future, it is planned to hold a regular meeting of the interstate interdepartmental working group on developing recommendations regarding the coordinated migration policy between Russia and Belarus. "The Belarusian side proceeds from the fact that, following the meeting of the working group, a specific algorithm for the cooperation of law enforcement, border and other agencies on all issues, that have become relevant in recent times, should be worked out," Dzmitry Mironchyk said.
According to the spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, the issues, in particular, are as follows: the establishment of border zones on the Belarusian-Russian border by the Federal Security Service of Russia, the non-entry of citizens of third countries with valid visas to enter the territory of the Russian Federation through the Belarusian-Russian border. "Naturally, we are ready to discuss and counter questions of the Russian side in connection with the adoption of the decree, which established a visa-free entry into Belarus for citizens of a number of states for a period of five days," – he stressed.
At the moment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hasn’t received a formalized list of claims from its Russian counterparts. "It was agreed at the February meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Belarus and Russia in Moscow that the foreign ministries would promptly issue the agreements reached by the group," Dzmitry Mironchyk reminded.
The meeting of the working group is pre-arranged and is held on a mutual initiative. Initially, it was planned that the meeting would be held in Hrodna on March 15-17. "On our part, there is a willingness to receive Russian colleagues and discuss actual topics with them. At the same time, at the request of the Russian side, the timeframe is shifted for several weeks," the spokesman said.
Currently, the program and agenda of the event are being coordinated.
The previous meeting of the working group was held by teleconference in December 2016. The Belarusian side includes representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the State Border Committee and the KGB. The Russian side is represented by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Federal Security Service, the Border Guard Service of the Federal Security Service and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
What Russia and Belarus are arguing about at the border
Lukashenka signed a decree on introducing a five-day visa-free regime for citizens of 80 countries on 9 January. On February 1, it became known that Russia was establishing a border zone on the border with Belarus. The decision, however, had been taken by the order of the Russian Federation Federal Security Service director at the end of December last year.
The FSC of Russia explained that the introduction of the border zone was aimed at "solving the problems of detecting and suppressing illegal transit migration, drug trafficking and illegal transportation of commodity and material values across the border" and was carried out "to create the necessary conditions for reliable protection of the state border."
The decision, however, was criticized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus. Spokesman for the department Dzmitry Mironchyk, said that the Russian side, by its decisions, equated the citizens of Belarus to foreigners in their rights and obligations "with all the ensuing consequences."